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Today in History: Charlemagne Puts a Pope On Trial

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 1, 2018 at 7:35 AM

On this day (December 1) in 800, Charlemagne held a hearing regarding the fitness of Pope Leo III to hold the papal office. Relatives of the late pope, Adrian I, believed that the pope should be a nobleman (presumably one of them), and that since Leo was a commoner, he was unfit for office. Too make him doubly unfit, they had attacked the pope the previous year and attempted to rip his tongue out and gouge his eyes out. When this failed, they accused him of adultery and perjury. Charlemagne let both sides have their say, then on December 23, allowed Leo to clear himself by an oath of purgation. (This involved Leo swearing he was innocent and getting twelve others to also swear he was innocent.) His accusers were exiled.

Categories: Today in History

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